Our guest from India orders a large pot of tea, perfect to stay warm indoors and away from the rolling thunder.
As the storm gains momentum outside, Muhammed tells us about how he emigrated to London over 18 years ago. Like so many before him, Muhammed left behind a family in search of the financial means to provide for them.
“I have four children. Two boys and two girls. They’re all living in India.”
Muhammed’s voice fills with pride as he tells us about his daughters, who are 21 and 24 years old. One is studying for an MBA in Aviation Technology. The other is studying for a BTEC in Information Technology.
“University is very expensive in India. My daughter has to travel 150 km to get to the nearest university. She has to stay in a hostel nearby, so I pay for the hostel and her food.”
Now that his daughters are of age, there are matrimonial expenses to consider.
“I want my two daughters to get married, but you need £52,000 to get just one daughter married.”
Our mouths drop open, astounded by the whopping, non-negotiable figure.
“I’m a Muslim, so we need to pay a dowry, which pays for jewels, a home, a car…”
In India, it’s common practice to expect or even demand a dowry from the bride’s family. A dowry refers to an amount of money, or tangible assets, that a bride offers the bridegroom and his family. Without it, the groom’s family may not accept the marriage proposal.
After getting his daughters married, Muhammed tells us his next challenge is providing for his sons’ education. At the time of the interview, his sons are 11 and 13. It’s the same situation as with his daughters: tuition, transportation, and lodging fees. These are expenses he’ll need to save up for before moving back to India.
When asked if he’d stay in the UK, he answered, “The people in London are very polite. It’s very neat and clean. It’s a safe country. The only problem is money… If you don’t have any savings, you can’t do anything.”
Muhammed’s vision for his future seems as clear as day. He knows exactly what he wants to do, when, and how.
“After two or three years, I’ll go back to India… I want to start a traditional biryani restaurant.”
Biryani, a fragrant rice indian dish cooked with spiced meat and vegetables, is popular in India. Muhammed’s native town of Tamil Nadu is no exception, located on the south Indian coast where he plans to set up shop.
According to Muhammed, it’s cheaper to run a restaurant business in India. However, his biggest motivation for moving back is the work-life balance.
“Here [in London], I wake up, go to work, go home and go to sleep… that’s it! But in India, if you start a business, you have enjoyment. You can go out with your family. You can go to parties.”
Even though Muhammed wants to move back, he’s encouraged his children to give London a chance. Thanks to their education, Muhammed is confident that they’d have a bright future in England.
At Ria, we are proud to support migrant workers like Muhammed. Through his hard work, he’s provided his children with an education and the means to create a better life for themselves.
We believe being apart is already a steep price to pay, so we put great care into providing the most efficient service for our customers.
If you’re living abroad and looking to send money to India, you can check out our payout locations here. Hope to see you soon at our stores or in our Ria Money Transfer app – if you haven’t done it yet, download it today for iOS or Android to get started.